OUR MISSION is to have our students of all ages achieve new levels of artistry and performance beyond what is possible in their regular class work. To inspire the love of the arts at a young age as well as train and empower students at a pre-professional level with a competitive edge. To make possible a performer's dream to pursue a career in theatre, dance performance, or as a performing arts educator or for an adult to develop their acting, improv, and comedy capabilities.
OUR GOAL at the Capistrano Acting Academy is to enhance the quality of the lives of our students and families through performing arts. Our students gain personal confidence, become more comfortable in the public speaking arena, become better team players and have great fun through cultural enrichment. As the teaching arm of Camino Real Playhouse, our students have the benefit of over 27 years of theatrical and educational experience. The director of our youth division, Christine Dickinson, is a professional educator and counselor with degrees that include a BA in Literature and Drama and Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology (MFTi). As an Accredited Teacher, she has lead her students to achieve awards in art, music, and photography. As a Family Counselor, she has assisted children in developing routines, setting short and long-term goals, learning life skills, aiding in socialization, and re-directing maladaptive behaviors. By limiting our enrollment, we commit to more individualized attention and a more complete experience for your child.
Backed by the full resources of Camino Real Playhouse in beautiful San Juan Capistrano and taught by some of the best theatre, comedy, and improv teachers you will find in Orange County. Check out of team of teachers. Theatre training, as well as all of the arts, encourages engagement and learning and has a positive impact on physical, emotional and social development. Children who participate in theatre programs enjoy the many benefits it offers and will take those skills throughout life, making each more creative, more confident and more productive individuals. We however believe that the best part of getting involved in theatre is that you meet great people with similar interests while having a great time.
Musical Theatre Series and Summer Camps have a final performance
with Stand Up Comedy and Improv Workshops havinga Graduation
Click Link below to purchase Graduation and Class Performance Tickets online.
Below are a few photos
from recent CAA Classes, Courses, and Productions.
More photos will be found our our new Capistrano Acting Academy Facebook page (Coming Soon).
A dedicated team with extensive theater, comedy, improv, and production experience.
Our staff believes that Theatre training encourages engagement and learning and has a positive impact on physical, emotional and social development in a child's life.
Christine is a professional educator and counselor (Educational degrees include: Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Drama and Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology (MFTi) who has lead her students to achieve awards in art, music, and photography. As a Family Counselor, she has assisted children in developing routines, setting short and long-term goals, learning life skills, aiding in socialization, and re-directing maladaptive behaviors. She is an international singing champion who plays five musical instruments, is a children's ministry leader, composes the summer curriculum for Vacation Bible School, is a published author as well as mom to two girls!
A fine arts and design major throughout high school and college, Beverly took a different turn and enjoyed a successful 35-year career in the international and domestic high-tech transportation industry which, over the years, included customer service, operations, corporate sales and marketing. Later in life she combined her artistic talents with her career experience and has been Scenic Artist and Vice President for the playhouse for the last 14 years. She is responsible for all aspects of the final implementation of set design, is resident graphic designer and is an executive producer for all productions.
Leslie has her degree in theatre arts and studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan under Sanford Meisner. She is both an actress and director, having done both at Camino Real Playhouse. As a Registered Nurse with a Master's degree in Health Care Administration and a minor in Business Administration, she worked in the NICU for many years and then in Hospital Administration. She has worked as the Artistic Director for Camino Real Playhouse since 2015. In this capacity, she oversees the artistic functions of the theatre including: hiring of artistic team members, selecting shows for the season line-up, and managing Playhouse operations.
Lisa returns as Capistrano Acting Academy's stage
manager and props designer after stage managing our
Summer Theatre Acting Camp this past summer. Busy mom of
two, she has a background in art history and interior
design and many years of experience in children's
She enjoys the "behind the scenes" action backstage where she can express her creativity and put her organizational skills to work.
Lisa is thrilled to be part of the energy of CAA and looks forward to "playing" with all of the casts and crews.
Tom Riehl is a professional stand-up comedian who has been performing regularly at clubs, corporate events, and fundraisers for over 25 years. His extensive comedic background coupled with his hugely successful Students of Stand-up Comedy Workshops have earned him praise from students and professional comedians alike. His simple yet effective approach to understanding comedy creates a fun and positive atmosphere no matter what your age or skill level may be. Tom currently produces two monthly comedy shows in southern California.
Michele has been an artist and muralist for over 20
years. She has been involved in theatrical scenic
painting for over 17 years with Arroyo Vista Children's
Theatre as well as las Flores Middle School and St.
John's Episcopal School. For the last two seasons, her
work has been seen on the stages of Camino Real
While raising three children, she has also been studying and taking various technique classes throughout her artistic career.
Roger, who joined Camino Real Playhouse three years
ago, brings over 25 years of experience in various
aspects of the entertainment industry, including a brief
time as a stand-up comedian. At Knott's Berry Farm, he
did lighting and sound design for various stage shows
and attractions during Halloween season. As both
Camino Real Playhouse and Capistrano Acting Academy's
Technical Director, Roger trains and manages a team of
sound, light and special effects operators.
Peggy Iriarte is a Freelance Costume/Fashion Designer who has been designing professionally since she graduated from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in 1989. Peggy is excited and honored to join The Capistrano Acting Academy and the Camino Real Playhouse family. Peggy specializes in creating one of a kind custom designs! Recently she costumed the Camino Real Playhouse's production of Dracula and Capistrano Acting Academy's summer productions of Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Robin Hood.
Briana joined the CAA family as a Junior Director this past summer and is a choreographer from the Laguna Beach Dance Troupe. She has been dancing and choreographing shows for the past two years. She was an assistant choreographer for The Sound of Music, The King and I and Singing in the Rain for the Wellingore Players Production Company.
Steph Davis was the artistic director of the Orange Curtain Theatre that ran in STAGE II of the Camino Real Playhouse for five seasons. He's trained as an actor under Allan Miller - famous coach of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. He has appeared off-Broadway as Malcolm X, along with a tour of A Soldier's Play. Also an accomplished stage director, he has received rave reviews for plays including March, Shirley Valentine, and Almost Maine (honorable mention Garland Awards by Backstage West).
Mitchell McMahon has been an improviser for 9 years and a teacher for 5. His improvisation and teaching training includes independent clubs in Santa Barbara and Orange County: ImprovCity, ComedySportz, Improv Olympic and Jestmont. He has a background in political science and a passion for teaching the next great generation of improvisers! He is also an actor and has stage managed as well.
SimplyGreatWebsites builds engaging mobile-friendly
websites that look beautiful on any mobile device, but
still look great on a big screen. The Capistrano
Acting Academy's website is provided by Gary and his
design team. SimplyGreatWebsites is Orange County's
Favorite Website Design firm with the Know-How to make
any company look Simply Great Online!
Those who participate in theatre programs enjoy the many
benefits it offers and will take those skills throughout life,
making each more creative, more confident and more productive
individuals. Our Instructors and Staff believe that the best
part of getting involved in theatre is that you meet great
people with similar interests while having a great time. Many
adults live in fear of being asked to speak before a group, but
the importance of this skill in nearly any career suggests
students should spend time developing a certain level of comfort
with it. Developing skills in theatre from an early age help
develop Confidence, Teamwork, Friendship, Flexibility, and
Public Speaking abilities.
Theater allows students to practice their emotional range while experimenting with pitch, projection, cadence and dramatics. On top of the value of experimentation in general, there is little immediate risk in the context of a class: this is not a presentation that is graded after one go. Actors rehearse and rehearse. Theatre does not tell you what to feel and allows you the freedom to not be perfect.
Some testimonials from the families we serve.
Send yours in. We add new testimonials to our website quarterly.
My 10-year-old daughter Ava had an AMAZING time at Capistrano Acting Academy this summer for four of the weeks of Theatre Summer Camp. Actually, we both did! Although Ava had many options for summer time fun away from school, she declined all of them and chose learning and having fun with the great people and instructors at the playhouse. I watched her interpersonal skills and confidence blossom. She can't wait to attend next summer and we both look forward to attending events at the playhouse!
My daughter attended all 5 weeks of summer camp at Capistrano Acting Academy at Camino Real Playhouse and it turned out to be the best 5 weeks ever. Not only did my daughter have a blast but even my son got in on the action. They both had so much fun doing these plays that were literally done from beginning to end in one week. The people involved with the plays and all of the other people who are a part of the playhouse are super passionate about their work: from the incredible sets to the props and the amazing costumes to the hilarious instruction of Christine Dickinson.
Find out more about CAA programs, courses, and events in the convenience of your own email inbox.
We promise not to spam you and always keep your infomation private.